Samantha Morton has been cast in the lead role of the Starz drama series “The Serpent Queen.”

Morton will star as Catherine de Medici. Based on the book “Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France” by Leonie Frieda, the eight-episode series is described as an account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown. Considered an immigrant, common and plain, Catherine de Medici is married into the 16th century French court as an orphaned teenager expected to bring a fortune in dowry and produce many heirs, only to discover that her husband is in love with an older woman, her dowry is unpaid and she’s unable to conceive. Yet, only with her intelligence and determination, she manages to keep her marriage alive and masters the bloodsport that is the monarchy better than anyone else, ruling France for 50 years.

Morton recently had a celebrated turn on the AMC series “The Walking Dead” as the villainous Alpha and also led the ITV-Hulu series “Harlots.” Her feature credits include two Academy Award nominations — one for “In America” in 2004 and another for “Sweet and Lowdown” in 2000. She has also worked with acclaimed filmmakers like Stephen Spielberg on “Minority Report,” Charlie Kaufman in “Synecdoche, New York,” Spike Jonze in “Her,” and David Cronenberg on “Cosmopolis.” In 2009, Morton made her directorial debut with “The Unloved,” a semi-autobiographical film based in the British children’s care system.

She is repped by UTA, Conway Van Gelder Grant, and Omni Artists Limited.

“The Serpent Queen” hails from writer and executive producer Justin Haythe. Francis Lawrence and Erwin Stoff will also executive produce. Stacie Passon will direct multiple episodes, including the premiere. Lionsgate Television will produce in association with 3 Arts Entertainment.